2023 Permaculture Design Course
An Advanced PDC:
A proper Permaculture Design Course (PDC) has a well defined syllabus. Most PDCs are crafted for beginners - and a lot of professionals get bored. Our PDC assumes that the student is desiring a course with a bit more substance and grit. This PDC is designed for scientists, engineers, educators or people with a lot of current knowledge of permaculture.
Alan Booker, an engineer himself, has developed a format that caters to these people. Alan’s course will cover everything a PDC normally covers, but is packed with information that can help advanced or expert students take their knowledge to the next level.
Technical Permaculture Design:
The focus of this PDC is on the technical aspects of permaculture and on professional landscape designing for clients. You will develop the skills to heal damaged landscapes while providing for your own needs.
Even if you have a lot of practical experience in various aspects of homesteading already, this PDC will move you past simply thinking in terms of isolated systems and into designing integrated, whole landscapes.
Every student will work through the entire design project individually, but always with the support of their design group and the instructors. Students will have multiple chances to present their design ideas and get feedback throughout the course of the first 13 days, building to the final design project presentations on the last day. During these final presentations, each student will present their own design project to the group as if they were presenting to a professional client.
This is the official schedule. It is possible that a few details might change.
Day 0: Check-In (Saturday, June 17)
Arrival: Airport pickups - 10am to 5pm. Arrival by car: 1pm to 5pm. Register settled in. Please plan to arrive within this window of time.
Sleep: Try to get plenty of rest. We start early and you have a full day jam-packed with information tomorrow.
Day 1: Introduction and Overview (Sunday, June 18)
Session 1: Introduction and Overview
Session 2: Ethics in Design
Session 3: Design Concepts 1
Session 4: Design Concepts 2
Design Session: Design Project Overview
Evening Session: Group Design Charrette
Day 2: Methods of Design (Monday, June 19)
Session 1: Methods of Design Part 1
Session 2: Methods of Design Part 2
Session 3: Methods of Design Part 3
Session 4: Methods of Design Part 4
Design Session: Design Property Tour
Day 3: Understanding Patterns (Tuesday, June 20)
Session 1: Pattern Understanding Part 1
Session 2: Pattern Understanding Part 2
Session 3: Pattern Understanding Part 3
Session 4: Pattern Understanding Part 4
Design Session: How to Conduct a Client Interview
Evening Session: Group Design Workshop
Day 4: Climate and Trees (Wednesday, June 21)
Session 1: Climate Factors Part 1
Session 2: Climate Factors Part 2
Session 3: Trees & Their Energy Transactions Part 1
Session 4: Trees & Their Energy Transactions Part 2
Design Session: The Client Interview
Evening Session: Introduction to Ecology
Day 5: Water and Soil (Thursday, June 22)
Session 1: Water Part 1
Session 2: Water Part 2
Session 3: Soils Part 1
Session 4: Soils Part 2
Design Session: Software Design Tools
Evening Session: Soil Analysis with the Microscope
Day 6: Soils, Compost, Crops and Seeds (Friday, June 23)
Session 1: Soils Part 3
Session 2: Compost & Aerated Compost Tea
Session 3: Annual Crop Gardening
Session 4: Seeds & Seed Saving
Day 7: Break (Saturday, June 24)
No required sessions. Instructors will be available during the afternoon to help with design projects.
Optional Bonus Evening Session: Herbal Medicine
Day 8: Earthworks (Sunday, June 25)
Session 1: Earthworks Part 1
Session 2: Earthworks Part 2
Session 3: Earthworks Part 3
Session 4: Earthworks Part 4
Design Session: Gathering Climate & Land-form Data
Evening Session: Conservation and Circular Design
Day 9: Humid Tropics & Drylands (Monday, June 26)
Session 1: Humid Tropics Part 1
Session 2: Humid Tropics Part 2
Session 3: Dryland Strategies Part 1
Session 4: Dryland Strategies Part 2
Design Session: Building a Base Map
Evening Session: Movie Night
Day 10: Temperate Climates & Pasture Systems (Tuesday, June 27)
Session 1: Temperate Climates Part 1
Session 2: Temperate Climates Part 2
Session 3: Pasture Systems & Rotational Grazing
Session 4: Food Forests and Perennial Production Systems
Design Session: Sector & Zone Analysis, Designing Water & Access
Evening Session: Learning the Plants of Your Biome
Day 11: Appropriate Technology (Wednesday, June 28)
Session 1: Working with Energy Flows
Session 2: Natural Building Methods
Session 3: The Permaculture Kitchen
Session 4: Sanitation & Health
Design Session: Siting Mainframe Forestry, Buildings, and Permanent Fencing
Evening Session: Question & Answer Night - Alan Booker and Paul Wheaton
Day 12: Aquaculture and Animals (Thursday, June 29)
Session 1: Aquaculture
Session 2: Animal Systems Part 1
Session 3: Animal Systems Part 2
Session 4: Food Storage & Seasonal Eating
Design Session: The In-fill Mosaic and Aquaculture
Evening Session: Design Project Work Time
Day 13: Structures, Community and Economy (Friday, June 30)
Session 1: Designing Invisible Structures
Session 2: Legal Structures & Community Organization
Session 3: Economics & Money Systems
Session 4: Village Development & Human Scale
Design Session: Preparing for the Design Presentation
Evening Session: Design Project Work Time
Day 14: Design Project Presentations (Saturday, July 1)
Morning Session: Design Project Workshop
Afternoon Session: Student Presentations of Design Projects
Evening Session: Student Talent Night (required for certificate)
Day 15: It's over! Go home! (Sunday, July 2)
Everybody packs and heads out. People get rides to the airport. Buh-bye!
7:00am – breakfast
8:00am – summary of the day
8:30am – session 1
10:00am – session 2
noon – lunch
1:00pm – session 3
3:00pm – session 4
5:00pm – cleanup
6:00pm – dinner
7:00pm – evening presentations
9:30pm to 6:00am – quiet time
Alan Booker is the founder and executive director of the Institute of Integrated Regenerative Design, which trains professional design practitioners to create systems that are ecosystemic, biocompatible, and regenerative. With over 30 years experience in engineering and 20 years in sustainable design, Alan is the author of multiple books. In addition to teaching PDCs, he also provides consulting and workshops on earthworks, soil remediation, composting, forest gardening, holistic management of pastureland, keyline design, aquaculture and aquaponics, off-grid energy systems, and natural building systems.
Helen has an MS in Horticulture and Agricultural Ecology from Rutgers University; worked at Rutgers in tree fruit IPM; studied natural farming with Masanobu Fukoka. She farms a 211 acre farm in eastern Oregon with her husband, where they have a mixed fruit and hazelnut orchard, small grain and dry bean production, vegetable gardens, high tunnels, and greenhouse.
Paul Wheaton, The Duke of Permaculture, is an author, producer, and certified advanced master gardener. He has created hundreds of youtube videos, hundreds of podcasts, multiple DVDs, and written dozens of articles and a book. As the lead mad scientist at Wheaton Labs, he's conducted experiments resulting in rocket stoves and ovens, massive earthworks, solar dehydrators and much more.
Thomas J. Elpel
Thomas is an author, natural builder, educator, and conservationist. He has authored multiple books: Foraging the Mountain West, Botany in a Day, Shanleya's Quest and numerous others about plant identification, wilderness survival, and sustainable living. He has multiple videos: Building a Slipform Stone House from the Bottom Up, How to Make a Grass Rope, Build Your own Masonry Fireplace - Masonry Heater - Masonry Stove, and many more. Thomas regularly teaches classes on plant identification, primitive skills and natural building. He is founder/director of Green University, LLC in Pony, Montana.
Chase is a permaculture designer and consultant with a background in anthropology, conservation archaeology, ecology, and geospatial analysis. He is the co-founder of Biodesic Strategies, a permaculture design and construction service that offers ecological design and green infrastructure installation.
For the PDC, Chase will bring both his practical consulting experience and background in the geospatial sciences to the process of helping students understand the tools needed to capture site data, synthesize an accurate base map, and develop a working understanding of any design site.
Note: 80% refunds up to two weeks before the event starts. If you are not comfortable with being recorded, please do not attend. Tobacco free and drug free site.
Regular price tickets will be $1650. Super Early Bird expires after the first 10 tickets have been sold, so claim your spot!
Permaculture Design Course (PDC)
June 18 - July 1, 2023
Paul will provide three simple meals a day at no charge, but food is not included with your ticket. If you have special dietary needs/desires, you might want to bring your own food and use our rocket cook stoves, ovens, solar ovens and other cooking contraptions.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Can I attend this online?
We actually recorded all 177 hours of our previous Permaculture Design Course and PTJ (then called Appropriate Technology Course).
You can learn everything that was presented in those four weeks, and do so at your own pace and from the comfort of your own home (and pajamas!).
Where exactly is Wheaton Labs?
Wheaton Labs is less than an hour away from Missoula, Montana, USA. Since this is the private residence of Paul Wheaton, he--like most people!--would like to not post his address online. But, you will be given detailed location information and directions after purchasing your ticket.
If I really love it at Wheaton Labs, can I stick around?
There are many options for continuing your stay!
- You can continue to rent one of our accommodations as part of our SEPPers Program - Seriously Excited About Permaculture Pampering
- Get Deep Roots. This is an alternative to buying land at Wheaton Labs (sorta like lifetime rent)
- Or Shallow Roots - 3 years - acreage rent of a shorter time frame
- Become a Boot! Permaculture Bootcamp - boots to roots is a way to learn and earn an acre at Wheaton Labs in about 21 months. And, you'll gain a bunch of skills in the process!
- Join Ant Village. This is the main community on the lab where "Ants" each rent an acre on which to build their own home(s) and food systems
Can I bring my kids &/or spouse? Do I have to pay extra for them?
You are more than welcome to bring a spouse. If they also pay for a ticket, they can join in all the activities. However, if they do not pay, they will not be able to take part in the classes. But, they are welcome to camp or stay at your rental, or explore the vast expanses of wilderness.
As for kids, they are welcome, too. But, they need to be watched and cannot take part in innovations or classes, especially if they have not paid for a ticket. Please note that Wheaton Labs is not childproofed, and with all the experiments and innovations, it's important to keep an eye on your children. You can find out more about kids at Wheaton Labs HERE.
What about my dog?
In a perfect world, we would have systems set up for dogs here at Wheaton Labs. We would love a Dog Village. Alas, we are currently not set up for dogs unless you can insure that they will be super well-behaved (find out more about that here). Perhaps building a permaculture Dog Village here at Wheaton Labs is a project you would like to undertake!
Smokes? Booze? 420 friendly?
Wheaton Labs is a tobacco, vape and drug-free campus. We don't mind folks have a little hooch from time to time, provided that they pack out the bottles or cans. And we do ask that you go very easy on the hooch -- due to some past events we would like to forget.
What other things are nearby?
There's all sorts of things to do, from organic groceries to theater to bars and hot springs. There's a lot more detailed information HERE.
What should I wear/bring?
Here's some ideas!
- dress for being outside in whatever Montana weather might bring! Layers, hats and boots are recommended
- average temperatures in June range from 46°F to 77°F (or 8°C to 25°C) and June can be our rainiest month!
- bring your own water bottle, travel mug, etc. to stay hydrated, and/or sunscreen
- bring your favorite gloves, safety glasses or tools as you wish - we will have limited amounts available (though be prepared for the tool monster to eat your tools)
- if you are camping on site, bring your camping gear and your own towel for our outdoor rocket-stove-/compost-heated-hot-water showers
- flashlights are recommended!
- (if applicable) bring/use only biodegradable, natural soaps and other toiletries (low to no scents are appreciated, too)
What kind of food will be provided?
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